Hwati wins big at CT Art Fair

CityPress - - Trending - Gar­reth.van­niek­erk@city­press.co.za

Zim­bab­wean-born artist Masimba Hwati took home R75 000 last week at the Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Art Fair as win­ner of the best booth – a small ray of trans­for­ma­tional hope for the fes­ti­val that was last week crit­i­cised for the “marginal­i­sa­tion of black peo­ple” by art critic Ste­fanie Ja­son. Hwati’s work, ac­cord­ing to the artist, in­ter­ro­gates post­colo­nial “hang­over cul­tures” and formed part of the spe­cial projects sec­tion of the fair co-cu­rated by Azu Nwag­bogu (di­rec­tor of the LagosPhoto Fes­ti­val in Nige­ria) and Ruth Sim­bao, a pro­fes­sor of art his­tory at Rhodes Univer­sity.

“I am ex­cited by the Cape Town Art Fair’s goal to en­gage more mean­ing­fully with artists and gal­leries in other African coun­tries,” says Sim­bao. “I hope that, through the spe­cial pro­ject, we can take small steps to­wards en­gag­ing across the con­ti­nent in more mean­ing­ful ways.”

Masks made of rugby balls, a spear made of skate­boards and a leather cricket hel­met topped with an an­i­mal’s tail called Neo-tribal III ( pic­tured), lined the booth walls. “My process is both in­tu­itive and re­search-based; I am fas­ci­nated by myths and es­o­teric his­to­ries. On the one hand, re­search like this of­fers an in-depth un­der­stand­ing of a term that is com­monly thrown around as a sym­bol of ‘far away’, and, on the other hand, makes you feel like you know some­thing most peo­ple don’t – you feel ‘spe­cial’,” said the artist.

Smac Gallery in Cape Town, which rep­re­sents Hwati, says that his win­ning the prize for this show will al­low him to fur­ther his dream, en­abling not only the em­pha­sis and ac­cen­tu­a­tion of his own, per­sonal prac­tice, but the cre­ation of op­por­tu­ni­ties for oth­ers in Zim­babwe “to prac­tise and heal through art” at a holis­tic in­sti­tu­tion the artist is plan­ning. It will be based on the ideals of art ther­apy and education.

Other artists in­cluded in the spe­cial projects sec­tion were Gre­sham Tapiwa Nyaude, Mathias Chi­rombo, Kyle Mor­land, Re­hema Chachage, Lady Skol­lie, Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze and Thania Petersen.

Hwati will be pre­sent­ing a solo ex­hi­bi­tion at Smac in Septem­ber.


NEOTRIBAL Post­colo­nial ‘hang­over cul­tures’ in­form much of the work

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